INDEPENDENT NEWS

Minister Challenged Over Traffic Claims

Published: Mon 19 Jul 1999 12:23 AM
Auckland City Council
Press Release
Minister Challenged Over Traffic Claims
Auckland City Councillor Frank Ryan, a former Mayor of Mount Albert, and Chairman of the Transition Committee which managed the establishment of the new
Auckland City in 1989, has challenged the present Minister of Local Government to justify his claim that council controlled traffic departments were "unsatisfactory".
Mr Williamson made this comment in a radio statement yesterday.
Councillor Ryan said "when they were operating, local authority traffic departments, including those run by Mount Albert and Auckland cities, were the envy of the country, and were run at no cost to ratepayers.
Apart from enforcement activities, they had a tremendous record of service to their communities with such operations as excellent public road safety campaigns. Their work done in Auckland schools with a very successful education programme made a huge contribution to traffic and road saefty awareness among pupils across all age groups.
When large scale activities took place anywhere in the city, the council traffic department was always on duty ensuring safe and orderly dispersal of traffic after such major events as rugby test matches, race meetings, parades and other activities which attracted large crowds.
Mr Williamson has a very short memory if he cannot remember those factual illustrations of the worth of council traffic departments." said Councillor Ryan.
Since council traffic departments were abolished by central government legislation, the service operated by the merged police and traffic forces has not been as effective as those operated by councils.
In spite of contracts which were intended to ensure service quality, the performance has not reached comparable levels.
"Time and time again I hear comments about the invisibility of the present operation. The days when black and white cars had a presence all over the city have gone, and road safety and traffic control is the poorer for that.
There is no evidence to support claims that the merged police operation has been more effective than the former council traffic departments, and certainly none to back up the Minister's claim that the local authority departments were "unsatisfactory".
The Minister's rather silly statement is a nonsense.

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